OK! last week I posted abut Extreme Dressage and this week I bring you Fast Twitch Dressage. For me the concepts of Fast and Slow Twitch muscles were things that belonged to the track and field world. Think sprinter versus marathon runner. My coach Belinda Trussell decided this past week that what she wanted me to work on was Fast Twitch BRAIN muscles. Yes! Brain muscles. How did she do this? Exercises that involved half pass, straightening, flying change, 10 meter circle, half pass back the other direction. And don’t be late with the aids and the precision. No time to loose! ! No time to wait! Don’t be late! Here is a short video of a part of one of those exercises. I know this does not look like a Fast Twitch exercise but for me it is!
I did not have to start off the top of my lesson with the Fast Twitch. We started with some work at the walk and small trot. The benefit of doing movements at the walk is that I have the time to take note of exactly what is required. In this video you can see the work of the half pass and going from walk to small trot. I have a tendency in the half pass to take off my inside leg, and going from walk to the small trot means I must not do that. How can I ask for the small trot with only one leg? From there you can see we moved on to quicker changes between movements.
That was the work we did earlier in the week. Then for my Thursday lesson the wheels fell off my brain. Sometimes there are days when you know you must do better and you try but the brain and body response is just not there. I thought I would be able to redeem myself with my Friday lesson but fate intervened. A crown on one of my upper molars came loose. This tooth is a live tooth, not one with a root canal, so I knew if the crown came right off I was going to have a pretty painful Labor Day weekend! Fortunately the dentist could fit me in midday and he told me I was lucky that I had noticed the loose crown because it would have come off over the weekend and then I would have been in trouble! And did Biasini get the day off? No, he did not. Belinda took him to the outdoor arena and rode him. She told me he was very good. He will get a holiday Saturday and a forest trail ride on Sunday.
What did I learn from the Fast Twitch work in my lesson on Tuesday?
- What may seem incredibly fast, going from one movement to another, is not actually so fast. It is no faster than what happens in a dressage test. It just requires absolute focus.
- The quick changes from one movement to another require that I must always be ready, always keep Biasini up and light, and always have him in the right frame.
- The benefit of not showing in this Covid season is I have the time to work on the basic components of the gaits, and the movements . At some time in the future, when I do get back into the show ring, Biasini and I will be much the better for it.
Thank you again to Belinda who does double duty on video and coaching!
*Featured photo is by Lexi Bradbury taken of Biasini at a show in Ontario two years ago.*